Fodder Experiment is Working So Far

Today is day 3 of my growing fodder experiment. On Thanksgiving I soaked some barley for 24 hours. At the end of that time I drained it and saw what I thought might be tiny little roots breaking through the seeds. It wasn’t enough for me to be sure, though. I transferred the seed into two food grade containers that we made holes in one end of by melting with a wood burning kit tool and then poking through with a wooden skewer. We then propped those up in little baskets to keep them at an angle so that any residual water would drain off into the basket below. Then I stuck them under a lamp that we leave on all night so that people can see to find the bathroom at night.

The seeds get flooded with water and drained three times a day. Yesterday evening it was obvious that the barley was making roots. Today there is no mistaking that this barley is sprouting and we have found ourselves an excellent source of barley to cut down on our food costs. Just look at this up close:


It is supposed to take 8 days, including the soaking day to get to the height at which you feed it to your rabbits, so 5 days to go. I think they will really like it. I will transition them slowly. It’ll take a while for me to get a full set up and going anyway and we’ve got lots of pellets. Each adult rabbit will receive a half pound portion eventually, but to start with it’ll have to be less than that while they also have access to pellets. I have rabbits in 12 cages, and I have two trays, so I figure if I cut it up into 12 pieces that will do for now. I’d like to have 4 trays per day in the long run, which is 32 trays total. Four per shelf means 2 sets of five shelf units. I have one set of shelves, so that is what we will start with. So for now I need to work on getting some more trays. I need 14 more to have a functioning 8 day system.

I would love to be able to cut my costs on feed down, while feeding the rabbits a living food that they’ll enjoy. Barley is supposed to be really good for fur quality as well. We’ll see how it goes.


6 thoughts on “Fodder Experiment is Working So Far

  1. Glad you are sharing this, as I plan on doing it in the spring when I have my homestead up and running. Thanks

  2. Grace Alice says:

    I’m happy to see you writing about this, because I tried it once and completely failed! It sounded like a great idea so I am looking forward to seeing how it all goes.

  3. Jessica says:

    I’ve seen a lot of tutorials recommend cleaning the barley first to get rid of the chaffe and to soak with a splash of bleach. Did you do either? I ask because I’ve tried starting TWICE now and both times the barley started to mold. It was growing, but molding as well. So I’m trying to see what others are doing and that is working to hopefully up my chances of getting it finally going 🙂

  4. LuckyRobin says:

    I did not clean the barley first. I did not use bleach, but there is chlorine in our city water. I soaked it in a good amount of water and wiggled my hand through it all a few times. The chaff and sterile seeds float to the top. After about ten minutes I skim that stuff off. I did that a couple of times during the soaking period, skimming off the stuff that floated. I soaked for 24 hours. The first time I rinsed it after it had soaked it, I rinsed it really well. Then I made extra sure that all of the water had drained out. I did not water it again for 12 hours. Then I watered it around 8 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m., making sure each time it had drained properly. So far there has been no mold, only growth. I think making sure the water is completely out is the key.

    From what I have read about mold it is important to keep it at a constant temperature between 65 and 75 degrees to prevent it. It needs 18 hours of light, but ambient light is fine. There needs to be good air circulation. Mold tends to happen when the water isn’t drained off properly and the air doesn’t circulate well around it. A circulating fan set on its lowest setting to move the air in the room the barley is in can be helpful for a mold problem. Just don’t blow it directly on the barley as it can dry out. Hope that is helpful. I am only on day 5, but things are going well. No sign of mold at all, just healthy green shoots and a big root mat.

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